By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Introduction: The New York Giants will have 18 free agents this off season to make decisions on for the 2020 season. New Head Coach Joe Judge has already completed his in-house roster assessment on the players and more than likely decisions have already been made. The top two free agents for the Giants, Leonard Williams and Markus Golden are still being evaluated and a final decision on them is still unknown. Despite having $75M in cap space available and possibly more after cuts/releases; GM Dave Gettleman must still spend wisely and not over pay like he did with Nate Solder. Let’s take a closer look at the top 9 free agents for the Giants:
- Leonard Williams (DE): The trade for Williams by Gettleman was met with extreme criticism by the media and fan base. If Gettleman lets Williams test free agency he would have given away a 2020 3rd round and a 2021 5th round pick and maybe recoup a compensation pick for 2021. Regardless; it will be deemed a horrible trade and it will put Gettleman more on the hot seat. However; Gettleman’s decision will not be based on what the media or fans think, it will be on what he believes is the right move to make the Giants better. Williams is reportedly seeking a $15M+ per year deal. Verdict: Place the Transition Tag on him under DT price for $13.1M.
- Markus Golden (OLB): Golden had a one year prove it contract and he certainly did so in 2019 with 10 sacks, 27 quarterback hits and also returned a fumble for a touchdown. At 29, Golden is not old, but in the football world he is probably playing for his last big contract. Giants want to bring him back; especially with their main target (Yannick Ngakoue) given a franchise tag and others priced too high (Clowney). Verdict: Golden will test the market and receive a better deal from the Giants.
- Mike Remmers (OT): Remmers was brought in to solidify the right side of the line for the Giants and he did anything but that with 5 sacks allowed and below average run blocking. Nick Gates played better than Remmers in limited action and will battle for the starting RT spot in 2020. Verdict: Let Him Go.
- Michael Thomas (S): Gettleman likes Thomas as do the rest of the coaches and players as well. Thomas is not only a top performer on special teams, he’s also a positive influence in the locker room. Thomas provides solid depth at the safety position and his contribution in 2019 (40 tackles and 2 interceptions) makes him an ideal player to bring back for the right price. Verdict: Thomas departs for a better deal elsewhere.
- Cody Latimer (WR): Latimer has the size at the wide receiver position that the Giants lack, however; his production over his two seasons with the Giants has been more or less uneventful. The Giants could decide to bring him back, but they do like practice squad receivers Reggie White Jr. and David Sills as both have good size. Verdict: Let Him Go.
- Zak DeOssie (LS): DeOssie will dictate what his final decision will be as many believe he might retire. Colin Holba is signed through 2020 and did a solid job in DeOssie’s absence. Verdict: This will be DeOssie’s call; despite the fact the Giants re-signed Colin Holba, who filled in for DeOssie in 2019.
- Deone Bucannon (ILB): Bucannon was signed when the injury bug hit the Giants and performed slightly above average. Verdict: Let Him Go.
- Jon Halapio (C): Halapio has been given plenty of opportunities to hold down the center position, but due to injuries and bad performances, the Giants should consider looking for a starting center either through free agency or in the draft. If so, his time could be coming to an end and at this point; bringing him back strictly as a backup would be the only option. Verdict: Re-sign only as a backup, if not Let Him Go.
- Aldrick Rosas (K): Rosas has had one great year with the Giants (2018-Pro Bowl) and one bad year (2019). Still will not cost much to retain him to see if he can regain his 2018 form. Verdict: Re-sign 1 year/$1M
The remaining 9 Giant free agents, here is my verdict on them:
Corey Coleman (WR)-Giants could seek other options in free agency and/or in the draft, but if fully healthy and at the right price, Coleman adds play making skills on special teams.
Elijhaa Penny (FB)-Solid blocker and receiver, could be utilized more under Jason Garrett.
Antonio Hamilton (CB)-Excellent special team player and adds depth at cornerback.
David Mayo (ILB-Mayo provided steady performance for the Giants at the ILB position and although he shouldn’t be considered as a starter, Mayo has value as a backup.
DaShawn Amos (CB)-Can be replaced by cornerback in the draft.
Amba Etta0-Tawo (WR)-Can be signed during the year, if needed.
Devante Downs (ILB)-Not worth taking up a spot.
Russell Sheppard (WR)-Can be added if injury bug hits.
Javorius Allen (RB)-Not worth taking up a spot.
Final Thoughts: Among the 18 free agents, I have 8 of them being released, 6 re-signing, 2 leaving for better deals and 2 undecided based on other factors. This is a very big off season for the Giants and GM Dave Gettleman especially as he was given a second chance to turn this team around after the firing of Pat Shurmur. Gettleman has graded out very well with past two drafts. However; it’s been his poor decisions on free agent signings that put him the hot seat. This off season Gettleman must not make the same mistakes as before and he definitely should over spend because his job could be on the line.